This practice relates the Macchiaioli to the French Impressionists who came to prominence a few years later, although the Macchiaioli pursued somewhat different purposes. The movement originated with a group of artists, many of whom had been revolutionaries in the uprisings of 1848. In the late 1850s, the artists met regularly at the Caffè Michelangiolo in Florence to discuss art and they found inspiration in the paintings of their French contemporaries of the Barbizon school. They believed that areas of light and shadow, or macchie were the components of a work of art. In its early years the new movement was ridiculed, a hostile review published on November 3,1862 in the journal Gazzetta del Popolo marks the first appearance in print of the term Macchiaioli. The artists did, in fact, paint much of their work in these wild areas, although the Macchiaioli have often been compared to the Impressionists, they did not go as far as their younger French contemporaries in the pursuit of optical effects.
Erich Steingräber says the Macchiaioli declined to divide up their palette into the components of the colour-spectrum and this is why their pictures lack the all-penetrating light that eclipses colours and contours and gives rise to the vibrism peculiar to Impressionist painting. The independent identity of the figures is unimpaired. In this view the Macchiaioli emerge as being very much embedded in their fabric and context, literally fighting alongside Giuseppe Garibaldi on behalf of the Risorgimento. The Macchiaioli did not follow Monets practice of finishing large paintings entirely en plein air, many of the artists of the Macchiaioli died in penury, only achieving fame towards the end of the 19th century. Today the work of the Macchiaioli is much known in Italy than elsewhere, much of the work is held, outside the public record. Another exhibition of the Macchiaioli was held at the Terme Tamerici in Montecatini, the Musée de lOrangerie in Paris mounted an exhibition of the Macchiaioli April 10 – July 22,2013.
Hudson River School Barbizon School Caffè Michelangiolo Boime, the Art of the Macchia and the Risorgimento. Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press, the Macchiaioli, Italian Painters of the Nineteenth Century. New Haven and London, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-03547-0 Steingräber, E. & Matteucci, G. The Macchiaioli, Tuscan Painters of the Sunlight, March 14-April 20,1984, new York, Stair Sainty Matthiesen in association with Matthiesen, London. OCLC70337478 Turner, J. Grove Dictionary of Art, ISBN 0-19-517068-7 Panconi, T. Antologia dei Macchiaioli, La trasformazione sociale e artica nella Toscana di metà800. I Macchiaioli, Il Nuovo dopo la Macchia
Since ancient times, Greeks and Celts have inhabited the south and north of the Italian peninsula respectively. Ancient Rome finally emerged as the dominant Italian and European power, Italy retained its artistic dominance into the 17th century with Mannerism and the Baroque, and cultural tourism became a major prop to an otherwise faltering economy. In the 18th century Neoclassicism originated in Rome, but this was the last such Italian-born style that spread to all Western art, Italian art has influenced several major movements throughout the centuries and has produced several great artists, including painters and sculptors. Italy is home to 51 World Heritage Sites, the largest number of any country in the world, Etruscan bronze figures and a terracotta funerary reliefs include examples of a vigorous Central Italian tradition which had waned by the time Rome began building her empire on the peninsula. The Etruscan paintings that have survived to modern times are mostly wall frescoes from graves and these are the most important example of pre-Roman figurative art in Italy known to scholars.
The frescoes consist of painting on top of fresh plaster, so that when the plaster is dried the painting part of the plaster and an integral part of the wall. Colours were made from stones and minerals in different colours that ground up and mixed in a medium, from the mid 4th century BC chiaroscuro began to be used to portray depth and volume. Sometimes scenes of life are portrayed, but more often traditional mythological scenes. The concept of proportion does not appear in any surviving frescoes, one of the best-known Etruscan frescoes is that of Tomb of the Lioness at Tarquinia. The Etruscan were responsible for constructing Romes earliest monumental buildings, Roman temples and houses were closely based on Etruscan models. Elements of Etruscan influence in Roman temples included the podium and the emphasis on the front at the expense of the three sides. Large Etruscan houses were grouped around a hall in much the same way as Roman town Large houses were built around an atrium. The influence of Etruscan architecture gradually declined during the republic in the face of influences from elsewhere, Etruscan architecture was itself influenced by the Greeks, so that when the Romans adopted Greek styles, it was not a totally alien culture.
During the 2nd century BC, the flow of these works, by the end of the republic, when Vitruvius wrote his treatise on architecture, Greek architectural theory and example were dominant. With the expansion of the empire, Roman architecture spread over a wide area, in many areas elements of style were influenced by local tastes, particularly decoration, but the architecture remained recognizably Roman. Styles of vernacular architecture were influenced to varying degrees by Roman architecture, by the 1st century AD, Rome had become the biggest and most advanced city in the world. The ancient Romans came up with new technologies to improve the citys sanitation systems and they developed a system of aqueducts that piped freshwater into the city, and they built sewers that removed the citys waste. The wealthiest Romans lived in houses with gardens
The Uffizi Gallery is a prominent art museum located adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria in central Florence, region of Tuscany, Italy. The building of Uffizi complex was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de Medici so as to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates, hence the name uffizi, the construction was continued by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti and completed in 1581. The niches in the piers that alternate with columns filled with sculptures of artists in the 19th century. The Uffizi brought together under one roof the administrative offices, the Tribunal and the Archivio di Stato, the state archive. He commissioned from the architect Buontalenti the design of the Tribuna degli Uffizi that collected a series of masterpieces in one room, over the years, more sections of the palace were recruited to exhibit paintings and sculpture collected or commissioned by the Medici. The gallery had been open to visitors by request since the sixteenth century, because of its huge collection, some of its works have in the past been transferred to other museums in Florence—for example, some famous statues to the Bargello. A project was finished in 2006 to expand the exhibition space some 6,000 metres² to almost 13,000 metres².
On 27 May 1993, a car exploded in Via dei Georgofili and damaged parts of the palace. The most severe damage was to the Niobe room and classical sculptures and neoclassical interior, the identity of the bomber or bombers are unknown, although it was almost certainly attributable to the Sicilian Mafia who were engaged in a period of terrorism at that time. Today, the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence, in high season, waiting times can be up to five hours. In early August 2007, Florence experienced a heavy rainstorm, the Gallery was partially flooded, with water leaking through the ceiling, and the visitors had to be evacuated. There was a more significant flood in 1966 which damaged most of the art collections in Florence severely. Here is a selection from the collection, The collection contains some ancient sculptures, such as the Arrotino. Collections of the Uffizi Official website Uffizi – Google Art Project
Primavera, known as Allegory of Spring, is a tempera panel painting by Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli painted about 1482. It has been described as one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world, most critics agree that the painting, depicting a group of mythological figures in a garden, is allegorical for the lush growth of Spring. Other meanings have been explored, among them, the work is sometimes cited as illustrating the ideal of Neoplatonic love. The title of La Primavera was first recorded by the art historian Giorgio Vasari who saw it at Villa Castello, just outside Florence, the history of the painting is not certainly known, though it seems to have been commissioned by one of the Medici family. It contains references to the Roman poets Ovid and Lucretius, since 1919 the painting has been part of the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. The painting features six female figures and two male, along with a cupid, in an orange grove, to the right of the painting, a flower-crowned female figure stands in a floral-patterned dress scattering flowers, collected in the folds of her gown.
Her nearest companion, a woman in white, is being seized by a winged male from above. His cheeks are puffed, his intent, and his unnatural complexion separates him from the rest of the figures. The trees around him blow in the direction of his entry, the drapery of her companion blows in the other direction. Next to this woman is another woman wearing a flowery designed dress that drapes over her body and she has a slight smile on her face while stepping towards the viewer and holding a grouping of flowers in her dress. The flowers on her dress and in her hand consist of pinks, Two of the women wear prominent necklaces. The flying cherub has an arrow nocked to loose, directed towards the dancing girls and somewhat isolated from the other figures stands a red-draped woman in blue. Like the flower-gatherer, she returns the viewers gaze, the trees behind her form a broken arch to draw the eye. Botticelli indicates there are 500 identified plant species depicted in the painting, Primavera says that of the 190 different species of flowers depicted, at least 130 have been specifically named.
The overall appearance of the painting is similar to Flemish tapestries that were popular at the time and this is a tale from the fifth book of Ovids Fasti in which the wood nymph Chloriss naked charms attracted the first wind of Spring, Zephyr. Zephyr pursued her and as she was ravished, flowers sprang from her mouth and she transformed into Flora. In Ovids work the reader is told till the earth had been, Venus presides over the garden - an orange grove. She stands in front of the leaves of a myrtle bush
The Tribute Money (Masaccio)
Painted in the 1420s, it is widely considered among Masaccios best work, and a vital part of the development of renaissance art. It owes its importance in particular to its use of perspective. The Tribute Money suffered great damage in the centuries after its creation, the Brancacci Chapel, in the basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine, was founded around 1366/7 by Piero di Piuvichese Brancacci. Peter was the name-saint of the founder, and the saint of the Brancacci family. At some point Masolino was joined by another artist, the eighteen years younger Masaccio, Masolino eventually left, either for Hungary in 1425 or for Rome in 1427, leaving the completion of the chapel to Masaccio. In 1427 or 28, before the chapel was completed, Masaccio joined Masolino in Rome, only in the 1480s was the work finished, by Filippino Lippi. The Tribute Money, though, is considered Masaccios work entirely, over the centuries the frescoes were greatly altered and damaged. In 1746 the upper levels were painted over by the artist Vincenzo Meucci, then, in 1771, the church was ruined by fire.
The Brancacci Chapel, though undamaged by the fire, suffered great damages to its frescoes. It was not until the years 1981-1990 that a restoration of the chapel was undertaken. The scene depicted in The Tribute Money is drawn from Matthew 17, 24–27, The story is found in Matthew. The passage has been used as a Christian justification for the legitimacy of secular authority, and is seen in conjunction with another passage. In Matthew 22, 15–22, a group of Pharisees try to trick Christ into incriminating himself, by asking if it is lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not. Pointing out Caesars image on the coin, he replies Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesars, the painting diverges somewhat from the biblical story, in that the tax collector confronts the whole group of Christ and the disciples, and the entire scene takes place outdoors. The story is told in three parts that do not occur sequentially, but the logic is still maintained, through compositional devises. The central scene is that of the tax collector demanding the tribute, the head of Christ is the vanishing point of the painting, drawing the eyes of the spectator there.
Both Christ and Peter point to the hand part of the painting. The final scene – where Peter pays the tax collector – is at the right, also, it is one of the first paintings that does away with the use of a head-cluster
Both are now in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence. The story of David and Goliath comes from 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites are fighting the Philistines, whose best warrior – Goliath – repeatedly offers to meet the Israelites best warrior in man-to-man combat to decide the whole battle. None of the trained Israelite soldiers is brave enough to fight the giant Goliath, the Israelite leader, offers David armor and weapons, but the boy is untrained and refuses them. Instead, he goes out with his sling, and confronts the enemy and he hits Goliath in the head with a stone, knocking the giant down, and grabs Goliaths sword and cuts off his head. The Philistines withdraw as agreed and the Israelites are saved, Davids special strength comes from God, and the story illustrates the triumph of good over evil. Donatello, in his twenties, was commissioned to carve a statue of David in 1408, to top one of the buttresses of Florence Cathedral. Nanni di Banco was commissioned to carve a statue of Isaiah, at the same scale.
In 1416 the Signoria of Florence commanded that the David be sent to their Palazzo della Signoria, evidently the young David was seen as a political symbol. Although the positioning of the hints at a classical contrapposto. The face is curiously blank, and David seems almost unaware of the head of his foe that rests between his feet. However it was intended to be gilded and painted, set on a pedestal with mosaic, Donatello distorted the proportions of the figure to allow for this angle of view. The head of Goliath, lying at Davids feet, is carved with great assurance and reveals the young sculptor’s genuinely Renaissance interest in an ancient Roman type of mature, bearded head. Donatellos bronze statue of David is famous as the first unsupported standing work of bronze cast during the Renaissance, and it depicts David with an enigmatic smile, posed with his foot on Goliaths severed head just after defeating the giant. The youth is completely naked, apart from a hat and boots. The creation of the work is entirely undocumented, and it has given a range of datings.
According to one theory, it was commissioned by the Medici family in the 1430s to be placed in the centre of the courtyard of the old Medici Palace. Alternatively it may have been for that position in the new Palazzo Medici Riccardi, where it certainly was placed later, the statue is recorded there by Vasari and other sources. The Medici family were exiled from Florence in 1494, and the statue was moved to the courtyard of the Palazzo della Signoria
The Gallerie dellAccademia is a museum gallery of pre-19th-century art in Venice, northern Italy. It is housed in the Scuola della Carità on the bank of the Grand Canal. The two institutions remained in the building until 2004, when the art school moved to the Ospedale degli Incurabili. The Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia was founded on 24 September 1750, the first director was Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, Gianbattista Tiepolo became the first president after his return from Würzburg. It was one of the first institutions to study art restoration starting in 1777 with Pietro Edwards, in 1807 the academy was re-founded by Napoleonic decree. The collections of the Accademia were first opened to the public on 10 August 1817, the Gallerie dellAccademia became independent from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia in 1879. Like other state museums in Italy, it falls under the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, the Napoleonic administration had disbanded many institutions in Venice including some churches and Scuole.
The Scuola della Carità, the Convento dei Canonici Lateranensi and the church of Santa Maria della Carità thus became the home of the Accademia. The Scuola della Carità was the oldest of the six Scuole Grandi, the Convento dei Canonici Lateranensi was started in 1561 by Andrea Palladio, though it was never fully completed. The facade of Santa Maria della Carità was completed in 1441 by Bartolomeo Bon, the Gallerie dell’Accademia contains masterpieces of Venetian painting up to the 18th century, generally arranged chronologically though some thematic displays are evident. Media related to Gallerie dellAccademia at Wikimedia Commons
Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized speed, technology and violence, and objects such as the car, the aeroplane, although it was largely an Italian phenomenon, there were parallel movements in Russia, England and elsewhere. It glorified modernity and aimed to liberate Italy from the weight of its past, Cubism contributed to the formation of Italian Futurisms artistic style. Important Futurist works included Marinettis Manifesto of Futurism, Boccionis sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, to some extent Futurism influenced the art movements Art Deco, Surrealism, and to a greater degree Precisionism and Vorticism. Futurism is a movement founded in Milan in 1909 by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. He was soon joined by the painters Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini, Marinetti expressed a passionate loathing of everything old, especially political and artistic tradition. We want no part of it, the past, he wrote, publishing manifestos was a feature of Futurism, and the Futurists wrote them on many topics, including painting, religion and cooking.
The founding manifesto did not contain an artistic programme, which the Futurists attempted to create in their subsequent Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting. This committed them to a universal dynamism, which was to be represented in painting. The motor bus rushes into the houses which it passes, the Futurist painters were slow to develop a distinctive style and subject matter. In 1910 and 1911 they used the techniques of Divisionism, breaking light and color down into a field of stippled dots and stripes, which had been originally created by Giovanni Segantini and others. Later, who lived in Paris, attributed their backwardness in style and method at this time to their distance from Paris, the centre of avant-garde art. Severini was the first to come into contact with Cubism and following a visit to Paris in 1911 the Futurist painters adopted the methods of the Cubists, Cubism offered them a means of analysing energy in paintings and expressing dynamism. They often painted modern urban scenes, carràs Funeral of the Anarchist Galli is a large canvas representing events that the artist had himself been involved in, in 1904.
The action of an attack and riot is rendered energetically with diagonals. His Leaving the Theatre uses a Divisionist technique to render isolated, Boccionis The City Rises represents scenes of construction and manual labour with a huge, rearing red horse in the centre foreground, which workmen struggle to control. The Futurists aimed through their art thus to enable the viewer to apprehend the inner being of what they depicted, Boccioni developed these ideas at length in his book, Pittura scultura Futuriste, Dinamismo plastico. Ballas Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash exemplifies the Futurists insistence that the world is in constant movement
Pinacoteca di Brera
The Pinacoteca di Brera is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan, Italy. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings, an outgrowth of the program of the Brera Academy. The Palazzo Brera owes its name to the Germanic braida, indicating a grassy opening in the city structure, compare the Bra of Verona, the convent on the site passed to the Jesuits, underwent a radical rebuilding by Francesco Maria Richini. When the Jesuits were disbanded in 1773, the remained the seat of the astronomical Observatory. In 1774 were added the herbarium of the new botanical garden, the buildings were extended to designs by Giuseppe Piermarini, who was appointed professor in the Academy when it was formally founded in 1776, with Giuseppe Parini as dean. Piermarini taught at the Academy for 20 years, while he was controller of the citys urbanistic projects, like the public gardens, the Academys artistic committee, the Commissione di Ornato exercised a controlling influence on public monuments, a precursor of todays Sopraintendenze delle Belle Arti.
Thus in 1882 the Paintings Gallery was separated from the Academy, from 1891 the exhibitions were reduced to triennial events, and architectural projects developed their autonomous course. The Brera Observatory hosted the astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli for four decades, collections of Pinacoteca di Brera Aldo Carpi Brera Gallery official website Accademia di Brera official website
Gothic art was a style of medieval art that developed in Northern France out of Romanesque art in the 12th century AD, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, and much of Southern and Central Europe, in the late 14th century, the sophisticated court style of International Gothic developed, which continued to evolve until the late 15th century. In many areas, especially Germany, Late Gothic art continued well into the 16th century, primary media in the Gothic period included sculpture, panel painting, stained glass and illuminated manuscripts. The earliest Gothic art was monumental sculpture, on the walls of Cathedrals, Christian art was often typological in nature, showing the stories of the New Testament and the Old Testament side by side. Increased literacy and a body of secular vernacular literature encouraged the representation of secular themes in art. Gothic art emerged in Île-de-France, France, in the early 12th century at the Abbey Church of St Denis built by Abbot Suger, monastic orders, especially the Cistercians and the Carthusians, were important builders who disseminated the style and developed distinctive variants of it across Europe.
Gothic art was often typological in nature, reflecting a belief that the events of the Old Testament pre-figured those of the New and New Testament scenes were shown side by side in works like the Speculum Humanae Salvationis, and the decoration of churches. The Gothic period coincided with a resurgence in Marian devotion. Images of the Virgin Mary developed from the Byzantine hieratic types, through the Coronation of the Virgin, to human and initimate types. Artists like Giotto, Fra Angelico and Pietro Lorenzetti in Italy, and Early Netherlandish painting, brought realism, Western artists, and their patrons, became much more confident in innovative iconography, and much more originality is seen, although copied formulae were still used by most artists. Even in Last Judgements Christ was now usually shown exposing his chest to show the wounds of his Passion, the word Gothic for art was initially used as a synonym for Barbaric, and was therefore used pejoratively. Its critics saw this type of Medieval art as unrefined and too remote from the aesthetic proportions, Renaissance authors believed that the Sack of Rome by the Gothic tribes in 410 had triggered the demise of the Classical world and all the values they held dear.
Gothic art was criticized by French authors such as Boileau, La Bruyère, before becoming a recognized form of art. Molière would famously comment on Gothic, The besotted taste of Gothic monuments, These odious monsters of ignorant centuries, in its beginning, Gothic art was initially called French work, thus attesting the priority of France in the creation of this style. Painting in a style that can be called Gothic did not appear until about 1200, or nearly 50 years after the origins of Gothic architecture and sculpture. Then figures become more animated in pose and facial expression, tend to be smaller in relation to the background of scenes, and are arranged more freely in the pictorial space, where there is room. This transition occurs first in England and France around 1200, in Germany around 1220, painting during the Gothic period was practiced in four primary media, panel paintings, manuscript illumination and stained glass. Frescoes continued to be used as the pictorial narrative craft on church walls in southern Europe as a continuation of early Christian
Italian Baroque art
He used tenebrism and stark contrasts between partially lit figures and dark backgrounds to dramatic effect. Some of his famous paintings are The Calling of St. Mathew, St. Thomas, The Conversion of St. Paul, The Entombment, and The Crowning of the Christ. His use of light and shadow was emulated by the Caravaggisti, annibale Carracci came from Bologna where, with his brothers Agostino Carracci and Ludovico Carracci, he set up an influential studio or academy to train painters. Amongst their various joint commissions, the Carracci carried out the decorations in the Palazzo Fava. Two of his famous paintings are ‘The Assumption of the Virgin Mary’, in the 1590s he went to Rome to decorate the gallery in the Palazzo Farnese. This ceiling became highly influential on the development of painting during the seventeenth century and its exuberance and colour was picked up on by Baroque painters while the classicising aspects of its design influenced painters who followed the more classical cannon. The principal painter of the Roman High Baroque, a period that spanned several papal reigns from 1623 to 1667, was Pietro da Cortona.
His baroque manner is clearly evident in paintings that he executed for the Sacchetti family in the 1620s, in the 1672, Gian Pietro Belloris ‘Lives of the artists’ was published. Monumental ceiling frescoes mainly date to the part of the seventeenth century. Some were dramatically illusionistic such as Gaullis nave fresco in the church of the Gesu and Andrea Pozzos nave vault in SantIgnazio, both in Rome. He is renowned for his palette of colours used with fluid brush strokes. An important centre of Italian Baroque painting was Genoa, even from abroad, came to the city to gain Baroque artistic experience, and went to Venice, Rome or other important Baroque centres. Another Italian city which had a vibrant Baroque movement was Milan, the city hosted numerous formidable artists and painters of that period, such as Caravaggio. Gian Lorenzo Bernini was the sculptor of his day and the favorite artist of several popes. He was a sculptor of portrait busts. He had a workshop which trained sculptors such as Antonio Raggi and his main rival in sculpture was Alessandro Algardi.
Melchiorre Caffà was the pupil of Ferrata and executed ‘The ecstasy of Saint Catherine’ in S Catherina da Siena a Monte Magnapoli in Rome, filippo Parodi was an important sculptor from Genoa. Francesco Queirolo executed several sculptures for the Cappella Sansevero in Naples including the technically demanding ‘Deception unmasked’, giacomo Serpotta was the outstanding Sicilian Baroque sculptor and known particularly for his stucco figures and decorations in several oratories in Palermo
The Birth of Venus
The Birth of Venus is a painting by Sandro Botticelli generally thought to have been made in the mid 1480s. It depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as an adult woman, the painting is in the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The iconography of The Birth of Venus is similar to a description of the event in a poem by Angelo Poliziano, no single text provides the precise imagery of the painting, which has led scholars to propose many sources and interpretations. Botticelli represented the Neoplatonic idea of love in the form of a nude Venus. Plato further argued that contemplation of physical beauty allowed the mind to better understand spiritual beauty, so, looking at Venus, the most beautiful of goddesses, might at first raise a physical response in viewers which lifted their minds towards the godly. A Neoplatonic reading of Botticellis Birth of Venus suggests that 15th-century viewers would have looked at the painting, in particular, both Primavera and Birth of Venus have been seen as wedding paintings that suggest appropriate behaviors for brides and grooms.
Yet another interpretation of the Birth of Venus is provided here by its author, Mack sees the painting as an allegory extolling the virtues of Lorenzo de Medici. The gold-filleted Horae happily welcomed her and clothed her with heavenly raiment, but something more than a rediscovered Homeric hymn was likely in the mind of the Medici family member who commissioned this painting from Botticelli. Pliny went on to note that Apelles painting of Pankaspe as Venus was dedicated by Augustus in the shrine of his father Caesar, pliny stated that the lower part of the painting was damaged, and it was impossible to find anyone who could restore it. This picture decayed from age and rottenness, and Nero, substituted for it another painting by the hand of Dorotheus. Thus, in a sense, what the mighty Romans could not restore, their worthy successors, pliny noted a second painting by Apelles of Venus superior even to his earlier one, that had been begun by artist but left unfinished. Once again, Botticelli, in his version of the Birth of Venus, might be seen as completing the task begun by his ancient predecessor, even surpassing him.
Was the two-dimensionality of this painting a deliberate attempt to replicate the style of ancient painting as found on Greek vases or on the walls of Etruscan tombs. While Botticelli might well have been celebrated as a revivified Apelles, his Birth of Venus testified to the nature of Florences chief citizen. Although it now seems that the painting was executed for another member of the Medici family, it likely was intended to celebrate and flatter its head, simonetta was, not coincidentally, born in the Ligurian seaside town of Portovenere. Accordingly, by implication, Lorenzo becomes the new Alexander the Great with an implied link to both Augustus, the first Roman emperor, and even to Florences legendary founder, Caesar himself. Lorenzo, furthermore, is not only magnificent but, as was Alexander in Plinys story and these essentially pagan readings of Botticellis Birth of Venus should not exclude a more purely Christian one, which may be derived from the Neoplatonic reading of the painting indicated above.
Viewed from a standpoint, the nudity of Venus suggests that of Eve before the Fall as well as the pure love of Paradise